S (Scripture): Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love!
Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion!
Wash me completely clean of my guilt;
purify me from my sin!
Because I know my wrongdoings,
my sin is always right in front of me.
I’ve sinned against you—you alone.
I’ve committed evil in your sight.
That’s why you are justified when you render your verdict,
completely correct when you issue your judgment.
Yes, I was born in guilt, in sin,
from the moment my mother conceived me.
And yes, you want truth in the most hidden places;
you teach me wisdom in the most secret space.
O (Observation): The psalmist sees that forgiveness and wholeness are not something we achieve on our own. Rather, through humility and repentance, God sets us right with God and each other.
We are a broken people, yet made whole in Christ. Our actions and thoughts will always be tainted, but wisdom comes through the acknowledgment that we can be made whole by God’s power.
This is not about God holding the psalmist over a flaming pit, but hope for a better day to come!
A (Application): How fitting that a psalm designated for repentance and forgiveness is set forth this day in the daily Moravian texts.
Today, Maundy Thursday, we Lutherans set forth a time of healing (with laying on of hands and anointing with oil). This practice reminds us that God is about healing us and reminding us of our baptism and the healing power of God’s presence.
The words of this psalm have been construed to make people feel worthless and to hold power over others. (Create a high demand for salvation, and the healing price becomes exorbitant.) But in Christ, we see one who gave all for us. Not to hold that over our heads, but to give us hope for a new day.
Jesus transformed the Passover into a new meal – the Eucharist – a time of thanksgiving for what God has done, is doing, and will do for all of humanity. In the meal of Holy Communion, we see forgiveness and reconciliation.
On Sunday, April 28, 2019, at Barfield Park in Murfreesboro, TN, as the people of Muefreesboro gather for the next Love Your Neighbor potluck we will see people who have made peace and established friendships over a meal.
We set aside this day – Maundy Thursday – as a day of preparation for our days ahead. We begin a worship service that spans The Great Three Days, which will take us through Good Friday and on to the Vigil of Easter (in which we recall salvation history, affirmation of our baptism, and the Meal).
We remain a people of hope – humble, whole, sheep of God’s own fold.
P (Prayer): Lord, protect us and lift us up. Help us to bear witness to your love with our neighbors. Amen.